Gentlemen Speak: Real Men Tell Us What Makes Them Feel Appreciated

Five guys share the ways they feel most appreciated.
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Five guys share the ways they feel most appreciated.

We all have those particular things that make us feel wanted and appreciated. It may be someone recognizing the hard work we’ve done, a special outing to our favorite restaurant, quality time with our significant other, or a much-needed hug at just the right moment.

Whatever it is, we know just how powerful a little appreciation can be. This is no different when it comes to relationships.

In the age-old battle of the sexes, men and women are not always the same when it comes to being treasured. If you’re wondering how to make your man feel worthy, look no further.

I spoke with five men about that very subject and the importance that thankfulness plays in their relationships. It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving to show your man how much you appreciate him. If there is a man in your life who you would like to thank this holiday season, hopefully these insights will provide some inspiration.

Warm His Heart

“There are so many distractions these days that we can sometimes forget that people are right there in front of us. When I show up, and my girlfriend warmly greets me and welcomes me with a hug, that can be all it takes to make my day.” -Brendan, 27

Ah yes, the warm welcome. Sometimes that is all it takes—eye contact, a warm greeting, a smile, and a nice firm hug. Especially in a world of so many distractions, ringtones, tweets, texts, alerts, and notifications, where our relationships can tend to become distant and remote if we are not careful, a little physical sign of affection really carries added weight. It’s also no small thing to acknowledge that you’re genuinely happy to see each other.

Words Are Not Cheap

“I feel most appreciated when she verbally acknowledges what it is, specifically, that she appreciates. Because I am so goal-oriented, hearing concrete details makes me feel like I have succeeded in my endeavor to care for and serve her.” –Joe, 29

“Whether it is in a love letter, sticky note, bragging to friends, or a spontaneous compliment, thoughtful words of affirmation go a long way. I tend not to talk about myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel appreciated when others, especially the woman I care about, talk about me and say why they are thankful for me.” –Adam, 30

Words of affirmation. As an English major, I am certainly partial to meaningful sentiments. While words may seem cheap at times, for many men (and I suspect women, too) they can make a world of difference.

Words are a reflection of what someone feels inside. So if my girlfriend tells me how much she values me and the things I do for her, or she specifically compliments my good traits, then I can trust that it is a genuine reflection of her feelings toward me.

Try offering an unsolicited compliment or writing a creative thank-you note to let your man know just how thankful you are that he is in your life.

QT

“Whether it is voluntarily watching the football game with me—not just sitting beside me on her phone but really watching—or planning a time to go try that new brewery, nothing makes me feel more appreciated than good old-fashioned quality time." –Mark, 22

If you thought guys don’t appreciate quality time, think again! Whether it is a brew tour, sporting event, dinner out, hiking, or a weekend adventure, try suggesting an outing that relates to something he has mentioned recently or a hobby you know he loves. Then, watch his eyes light up at the opportunity to do something he loves with the person he loves. The best relationships are ones rooted in friendship, so quality time and mutual respect for each other’s interests are essential.

Yes, We Really Love Food That Much

“Once a girl called my parents and got the recipe for my favorite dessert so that she could make it as a surprise for my birthday. It wasnt just the food but the thought that went into making something that I would absolutely love.”  –Jake, 27

Sometimes the way to a man’s heart really can be through his stomach.

Depending on your guy, making a thoughtful dish could be the best way to show appreciation. It could be an unexpected batch of dark-chocolate brownies or even a special dinner night planned a week in advance; either way, we will love you for it. Yes, we love food, but this kind of thank-you is good for two reasons: One, the time and energy you put into making it shows extra loving care, and two, it’s another excuse for us to spend some quality time together while we eat the food.

Giving thanks should be a regular occurrence in any healthy relationship. Do a little trial and error to figure out what makes your man feel most appreciated. You will probably be able to tell what gets him from his reaction, but if not, go ahead and ask him.

Photo Credit: Nima Salimi